Track training helps runners build endurance, speed, pacing and stride

Track training is a good option for beginners before tackling Cherokee and Iroquois Park hills

When was the last time you ran on a track? Maybe high school? Maybe never?

Track running can be helpful if you are training for a half of full marathon. It helps build endurance, speed, pacing and stride. Track work is the newest addition to the Norton Sports Health training program for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon/Marathon. The new home of the track training workouts is the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center, 3029 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.­ Louisville, Kentucky

It’s not too late to join the Norton Sports Health team

Join the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon training group — connect with other participants and get support from the Norton Sports Health training team.

Sign up for text alerts by texting “NortonRun” to 37492 to receive messages about any changes in training times and locations. The Norton Sports Health training program helps prepare you for the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon on Saturday, April 29.

Before beginning any training program, consult with your health provider to ensure you are healthy enough to properly train and complete the program.

“Track work can be less intimidating for beginners than those big hills in Cherokee and Iroquois Park,” said Stephanie Fish, Norton Sports Health training program coordinator.

Track work and hill work are both repetitive but focus on specific lessons. Hill work teaches how to properly adjust your body and step to get up a hill effectively. Track work helps with speed, endurance and muscle memory.

“Each suggested track workout is designed to improve different parts of your run,” Fish said. “While we’ll give you a suggested sprint workout, you can do whatever you are feeling up for that day. If 200s aren’t your thing, then run 100s. If you only want to do half of the sprint workout, you can. You also can come out to meet your new running buddies, and walk a few laps.”

Track workouts begin with a two-lap warm-up, and then the sprinting begins. Each sprint length targets a different outcome, with a recovery jog between each set.

Gain speed. 200-meter sprints are key for muscle memory, according to Fish. The 200-meter repeats and 400-meter repeats will have a 200-meter jog between each sprint.

Build endurance. Ladder sprints help build endurance. Ladder sprints are speed sessions that increase the interval length slowly, for example 100-meter sprints, then 200, 300 and so on.

Find your pace. 400-meter sprints help you find and possibly increase your pace. Unlike running on a treadmill that keeps a steady pace for you, track running helps you focus on setting your own pace.

Lengthen your stride. Sprints can help with creating a faster stride turnover rate. This can help with feeling more comfortable and combating fatigue while running longer distances.

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